The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the "China shops"-- small stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenware -- that have become ubiquitous in Southern Africa, to oil, infrastructure and mining projects across the continent, China's government, private and state companies, and individual Chinese immigrants are changing the continent that the west gave up on sometime in the 1990s.
- Lei Lei: A Sketch of the Animator As a Young Man
- "Shanghai Calling" Translates Funny
- Classical Music with Chinese Characteristics
There are both very positive and negative aspects to the Chinese presence in Africa. I think arguments that China's involvement in Africa is a form of neo-colonialism are both simplistic and prejudiced, but there also plenty of people looking at Chinese economic and political ties to Africa through rose-tinted glasses. It is certainly refreshing for African countries to deal with an enthusiastic new global player with deep pockets and little interest in pushing an ideology. It is up to African political and business leaders to make sure that their own countries do not get a raw deal.
Jeremy, I agree that China is already transforming Africa in hundreds of ways and that the Western response has verged on the hysterical at times. But there are also well documented instances of exploitation, illegal resources extraction and bad business practice, as well as any number of white elephant infrastructure projects that have fueled a negative response to the Chinese presence in many countries in Africa.